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USA downs Czechs; semifinal against Canada awaits

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - James van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown and David Backes tallied in a three-goal first period, as the United States put 32 years of frustration to rest and gained a spot in the semifinals thanks to a 5-2 decision over the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Zach Parise and Phil Kessel also lit the lamp for the Americans, who hadn't beaten the Czechs -- or its previous incarnation as Czechoslovakia -- in Olympic play since 1980 and will face Canada in a Friday semifinal.

The defending gold medalist Canadians squeaked past Latvia, 2-1, on a late power-play marker from Shea Weber.

Ryan Suter added three assists and Ryan Kesler picked up two more helpers to back a 21-save effort by Jonathan Quick.

Ales Hemsky recorded both scores for the Czechs, who came up short in their quest to medal for the first time since taking bronze in Torino eight years prior.

Starter Ondrej Pavelec was pulled early in the second period after yielding four goals on 12 shots. Alexander Salak finished up with 12 stops.

Van Riemsdyk measured Pavelec from the goal line to the right of his net just 1:39 after the drop of the puck, but Hemsky was credited with the tying score on a scramble in front at 4:31.

Pavelec was rescued by his post on a Kessel drive minutes later, but the iron was no reinforcement after Brown was left alone at the left side to accept a Backes pass and score into a half-open net to make it 2-1 for the USA at 14:38.

Backes sent the Americans to intermission with a 3-1 edge, scoring just ahead of the buzzer by taking a Ryan Suter miss that caromed off the back boards and tucking it home from the right side.

The end boards factored into the USA's fourth goal of the contest, as Joe Pavelski's point blast went wide, but Parise alertly followed up with a chance from the goal line off the carom at 9:31.

Kessel sped to the net and tapped in a long Ryan Kesler cross-ice feed to make it 5-1 for the USA and officially welcome Salak to the game just after the two-minute mark of the third.

Quick was finally beaten again on a blistering drive from Hemsky from between the circles with seven minutes to play, but the seasoned Czechs had nothing left for a comeback.

02/19 15:36:28 ET

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Schedule

Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal 4/18 7:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay CNBC, CBC, RDS, FSN-FL
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 1-0.
Detroit 4/18 7:30 PM ET
Boston NBCSN, TSN, FSN-DET, NESN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Dallas 4/18 10:00 PM ET
Anaheim NBCSN, TSN, FSN-SW
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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